Engaging adults and kids through an interactive book for delivering sustainable knowledge

TSLP is an open educational resource that aims to educate adults and families about the sustainability challenges our planet is facing. It contextualises our knowledge of scientific laws and provides knowledge of sustainability principles as boundary conditions for the planetary and social systems. The program offers tips for creating a more sustainable lifestyle and reducing carbon footprint.

This is the story about my contribution to designing an interactive learning program that helps families understand the science of sustainability.


The challenge

How can the program be made more engaging for both adults and children, encouraging them to complete it?

The program was designed to motivate adults to learn about sustainable lifestyles, but it’s also aimed to involve kids. The challenge was to find ways to make it exciting for both groups and deliver sustainability knowledge to adults and kids to get them interested. Furthermore, the program consisted of five modules, which were presented in PowerPoint format, and the content was quite advanced; many diagrams and tables might be complex for children to understand. The other challenge I faced was to take a hybrid role or said to “wear many hats”, where I had to perform multiple functions to accomplish this project alongside other projects.

My role & responsibility

I led the design of an interactive book and was responsible for developing a concept strategy, conducting research, creating visual designs and building a hi-fi prototype. Specifically, my activities included:

Conducting user interviews
Creating personas, empathy map
Context scenario
User journey
Prototype evaluation
Visual elements
Colour themes
Clickable hi-fidelity prototype
Landing page

I was involved in the project’s initial phase and delivered the design for further development to the project owners in January 2023. It is an ongoing project; you can read more about it here.

Time frame

September-December 2022


I used different tools to facilitate communication, streamline organisation, and aid in production. For diagramming and displaying design thinking steps, I used Figma, which allowed me to easily share results with the project team and keep everyone informed of the design progress. To schedule meetings and activities, I relied on Google Calendar. All shared documentation was collected in Google Drive. Additionally, I used Dropbox to contain produced material such as user research material, sketches, illustrations, and other materials needed for prototyping. Since CorelDraw is my favourite tool for working with vector graphics, I used it primarily for working on illustrations. I exported the images to file formats for interactive prototyping, which I created in Axure. To track design progress, learnings, and plans for the upcoming week, I kept a diary in Google Documents that I filled out weekly.

The approach

Promoting sustainable futures: engaging adults and kids through innovative knowledge delivery

The discovery

Exploring dynamic learning

At the beginning of the project, I collaborated with the project manager to plan the design process. During our discussion, I gained a better understanding of the usage situation, the project team, limitations and possibilities, and the specific requirements. I created a roadmap that included milestones, deliverables, and the methods I planned to use to support the design process. To approach problem-solving, I chose a human-centered approach, using the Design Thinking framework which I introduced to the project manager. This methodology emphasises empathy, collaboration, and iteration, which guided me throughout the product’s design.

Prior to delving into the visual aspect of the product, some preliminary work was necessary. This involved conducting a study on the subject matter and user research and then using the data collected from primary and secondary research to build the design.

Primary data was collected through an online survey and semi-structured interviews in which four adults and four children 8–10 years old took part. Real users are the foundation of user-centered design. Therefore, the potential users were invited to participate in the design process.  Interviews with minors were designed and carried out with regard to rules and guidelines for research on children (CODEX). I also collected secondary data through open sources such as articles on Sveriges Lärare, Skolverket, Skolvärlden, Lärarförbundet and other tips from experts about kids and learning styles. Furthermore, I took some inspiration from existing digital and physical books.

The result provided a good basis for being able to work further with designing an interactive book and gave direction to the visual appearance and content.


Who is the target user?


After conducting user interviews and surveys, I developed user personas based on common behaviours and goals identified among the participants. The persona creation process involved establishing two distinct target groups: adults and children, each with their own unique characteristics. I provided each persona with a name, picture, and demographic data to make them feel like real people. The personas were instrumental in guiding the development of product functions and content.

Empathy map

I chose empathy mapping and the user journey during product development because they add an emotional element, as well as provide a great advantage in design both for me and stakeholders. Empathy mapping has been an effective tool in consolidating and organising qualitative user research data, including surveys and interviews. It has enabled me to communicate insights to the project manager in a clear and effective way. At this stage, we were one step closer to gaining a deep understanding of future users and making informed product decisions in the future.

What do users want in terms of the product’s feel?

Attractive  •  Educative  •  Pedagogical  •  Engaging  •  Competing  •  Challenging  •  Collaborative  •  Playful  •  User-friendly/easy to use  •  Understandable

User journey map

I noticed a lot of uncertainty surrounding the product, so I took the initiative to create a user journey map and invited stakeholders to participate in the workshop. Working on the user journey map was a collaborative effort together with a project manager. The visualisation and the collaborative conversation helped the team better understand the holistic view to deliver the user experience.

Structuring the experience

Designing for what users do & feel

User flow

At the stage of identifying what the content of the program represents, I worked on building a user flow. Discussing the content with the project manager, I found out the important parts of the program and what each part includes. Then, I built a user flow from the entry point into the program, a series of steps from the first module to the next module and to the final action.

User flow helped me in planning and crafting pages to navigate and align with users’ primary objectives, ensuring an intuitive, obstacle-free journey towards task completion. This comprehension guided content presentation and navigational elements, optimizing the user journey for efficient and satisfactory outcomes. However, I want to note that I did not build a detailed architecture but a holistic set of interactions that demonstrated the main and ideal set of steps required to complete the program, starting from the entry point on the landing page, moving through each module, and reaching the final action.

Content and functions

If you want to create an effective book and landing page structure, one of the most critical elements is to provide your readers with an engaging experience that will compel them to explore the topics you discuss. By doing so, you can ensure that your book will captivate your readers and leave a lasting impression on them. I conducted research on existing landing pages and digital books to gather some inspiration and made a list of essential elements of an effective book structure, content and functions. A landing page designed to reflect the book’s concept and invite users to participate in the program.

The requirements

While developing the interactive book, I compiled a list of requirements after conducting primary and secondary research. The main objective was to gather the elements of the interactive book’s content and functions to create an engaging experience for the readers and encourage them to explore topics. This list was beneficial in wireframing and prototyping. The entire process was completed in three iterations to ensure its effectiveness.

Some sketches

Creating adaptive interface prototype with Axure

UI/ Graphic design and specific components

Visual style and aesthetics

To craft a compelling digital prototype of a book, it’s crucial to take into account the use of colour themes, visual elements, badges, and icons. These design elements come together to create a visually appealing and engaging experience for the readers.


The result

Design presentation

After working closely with the project stakeholders and users to bring the program design to life, I created an interactive book consisting of 80 pages and four modules. I presented it as a Hi-Fi prototype in Axure. I worked on the design solution’s concept and its presentation, as well as conducted user research. The prototype features clickable graphical elements, quiz questions and badges (rewards) throughout the content sections that engage and encourage topic exploration. A landing page is designed to reflect the book’s concept and invite users to participate in the program.

Prototype evaluation

Testing with users

The first module was evaluated with users, and the result showed that some improvements must be made, such as adapting the text and interface more for kids who wished to have more sound and movement in the interface.


The pictures on the pages effectively illustrate and support the text.

However, there is a lack of harmony between the text and the images. The text is written for adults, while the images are more suitable for children.

The buttons with the “i” symbol, which provide additional information, were not utilized.

Overall, the product was perceived as an informative sheet that can be useful for adults who are interested in environmental issues. However, it may not be engaging enough for children.

Based on a holistic experience rating system of up to 5 points, children rated the product 3, while adults rated it 4 out of 5.

Inlärning fungerar annorlunda nu, och barn, även ungdomar kan inte sitta stilla” och just läsa sidan efter sidan. Behövs mer interaktion, allt ska hända snabbt så att ha kort tid på att fånga in. (Participant 6)

Improvement suggestions

1. Add sound and motion to the images.

2. Incorporate more movement in the images. For instance, divide the image into smaller parts that move.

3. Include music or sound effects such as nature music with sounds of birds, leaves, etc.

4. Simplify materials for children if the product is meant for both kids and adults. Creating two different versions of the product whould be a good idea. 

5. Capture interest quickly by making sure the product is engaging and interesting. Sitting still and reading is hard for kids. 

6. Create a reward system that includes collecting medals and points as an element of competition.

7. Encourage users to be active and engaged with the product.


Insights gained from a dynamic product design journey

It has been an enlightening experience providing useful insights into the intricate process of designing user-centric concepts as a user researcher and designer. This journey reinforced the importance of adapting methodologies and communication strategies with users as well as within the organisation.

One of the key takeaways from this experience is the importance of using nuanced approaches for different age groups to ensure that the final design resonates with the entire target audience. Striking a balance to engage both parents and children effectively required attentive crafting of inquiries in product development.

More key learnings emerged throughout the project:

Children as creative contributors
Involving kids in the design process proved to be an interesting experience that yielded a rich source of insightful and creative ideas. Their unique perspectives and imaginative input played a pivotal role in initiating the design of innovative concepts, highlighting the importance of considering their viewpoints in the early stages of product ideation.

Evaluating prototypes with kids
Sharing thoughts and emotions between adults and children required a tailored approach to elicit meaningful responses. Gathering feedback from kids while evaluating the prototype should be approached with caution, as individual differences and contextual factors play significant roles.

Formulation of user questions
Crafting questions for user interactions demanded careful preparation. The varied age groups within the target audience necessitated thoughtful consideration when formulating questions for interviews.

Integration of technical considerations
Understanding the limitations of integrating technical considerations early in the design process is important. However, it is worth noting that technical constraints can restrict the possibilities of creating interactive solutions. This can be observed during the prototype evaluation stage, where users tend to expect more from the product.


…You demonstrated to have the competence to work in teams and collaborate. You also have developed competencies to do human-centered design, studies, and projects. Your graphic design skills are also a perfect complement to developing projects from start to finish.

JP Candiotti, Sustainability Strategist and Innovation Partner at The Sustainability Collaborative

Other projects

Program developed by:

The International Sustainability Collaborative; The Natural Step; Folkuniversitetet in Blekinge; Latvia Adult Education Association; Claned Group

Funded by:

Nordic Ministers Council — Nordplus Adults